Glenn Greenwald's daily fixation about the perils and abuses of executive power have always been widely supported and promoted by the Cato Institute, the libertarian "think tank" founded by the now infamous right-wing industrialists known now as simply "The Koch Brothers." Glenn's latest number one fan on Twitter is Cato's (and Reason Magazine's) Julian Sanchez (@normative). The two of them have recently been the Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb of the NSA/Snowden outrage machine, gleefully trading-off with and echoing each other's efforts to keep the topics of the NSA, Ed Snowden and Bradley Manning in the forefront of the media's attention span.  And the Kochs just couldn't be happier.

This paragraph will help you understand why:

From:  The Machine: A Field Guide to the Resurgent Right by Lee Fang

Perhaps the most insidious strategy of the Koch brothers has been their ability to co-opt social liberals. The Cato Institute is known for its promotion of gay marriage and support for immigrant rights. In fact, a small number of libertarian fronts that receive funding from Koch charitable foundations do not toe the orthodox conservative line when it comes to issues like evolution or even drug policy. But these otherwise laudable causes are mostly a ruse. While the Koch brothers fund seemingly reasonable social libertarians with one hand, they finance a set of vicious social conservatives with the other. Peggy Venable, a longtime Koch operative, helped mastermind the crusade to rewrite the history textbooks in Texas to promote antigay bigots and to censor references to immigrant civil rights leaders like Cesar Chavez.6 Americans for Prosperity spent considerable resources promoting Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce and Colorado’s Tom Tancredo, two of the leading anti-immigrant politicians in America. Koch also gives heavily to antigay groups like the Heritage Foundation. In fact, Charles attends meetings of the Council for National Policy, the nation’s largest meeting group for far right social conservative donors, and in a speech posted on the group’s website, pledged an “alliance” with the social right to change American society. Essentially, Koch will fund both conservatives and liberals when it comes to social policy. Because for them, social initiatives are more often a Trojan horse for imposing their radical economic views.

[bold emphasis added]

Like most of the Right's calculated maneuverings, organizations like Cato are fond of any effort that attacks any institution of power which far right authoritarians like the Koch's don't now control. For decades, they have paid for an orchestrated effort to destroy the American people's respect for goverment, and thus, any authority that can pass social legislation aimed at greater wealth equality and social justice, which are both outcomes vehemently opposed by the Kochs and their plutocratic brethren. It is not an accident that Progressive civil libertarians and socially-regressive Ron and Rand Paul supporters have come together to noisily protest the evils of the "surveillance state," as Greenwald so lovingly refers to it. It's a strategy long in coming.

I urge you to read Lee Fang's book and understand just how systemic the plutocratic influence has become in America, and why it is leading to what George Packer calls "The Great Unwinding" of the American way of life. It is not that the strident voices like Glenn Greenwald's are not discussing matters important to liberals. They are. After all, Progressives—or at least, those claiming to be progressives—are his market and drive his income. But it is the way they are discussed that is working at cross-purposes with the larger goals of the American left. They rely on a ginned-up outrage directed mostly at mere tokens of authority, such as black Presidents like Barack Obama, and not at the true causes of our problems: the plutocratic elites like the Koch's who are only too happy to promote and pay for this distracting, hyperbolic antipathy toward elected representation and executive power. 

Does Glenn Greenwald openly work with The Cato Institute? No. At least not from any evidence I've seen.  But he has been paid to write for them in the past, and they eagerly stoke the outrage he so easily manifests with his daily writing. Outrage which an army of Julian Sanchez cohorts can get behind and push, helping to steer it in ways more directly in-line with Cato's ultimate goal of dismantling the Progressive agenda on behalf the Kochs and their many right wing friends in the energy, finance, cattle, and agricultural industries.

It is an informal convergence of interests that makes Greenwald their proverbial useful idiot who helps to drive the narratives that they want to see driven. Just as far and as fast as he can drive them.  And since he creates more disaffected progressives with every article he writes; people who often shriek that they are "done with voting","done with democrats," and "done with false hopes and promises," he is helping to drive the American Left right over a cliff and straight into the waiting arms of the quasi-fascist, quasi-theocratic plutocratic elites like the Koch family. The very forces of darkness who have spent at least 75 years trying to become the true fascist authoritarians that Greenwald professes to fear. Revealingly, he almost never actually writes about those fears, choosing instead to write passionately in favor of things like the Citizens United ruling on electioneering, which actually serve to stoke the causes of those fears. Handsomely.

If America, as we once knew it is to survive, the agenda of the Kochs and their elite partners must be stopped. But getting outraged at the latest Glenn Greenwald trope won't do that.  It will only add more fuel to the raging inferno of hate and disillusionment which will ultimately assists the ultra-far right with their ambition to seize total control of the United States. As articles like this demonstrate, they're already almost there. 

For better or worse, and regardless of their motivations or tactics, Greenwald and the Washington Post have helped to bring the NSA security debate to the front of the public discussion.  But now more mainstream journalists, advocates, and elected officials have to step-up and translate all this legitimate concern, and yes, even outrage into effective public policy prescription and legislation that can balance the security vs. liberty scale in a way that most Americans can support. That is an outcome that the Kochs are hoping Greenwald and friends will impede by promoting so much rage, distrust and rancor that only a dysfunctional national apathy remains. And again, we're nearly there.

I feel this entire NSA issue is far to complicated to be solved by any knee-jerk outrage about "civil liberties" and "respecting the fourth amendment."  It's just one more intricate problem that only responsible governance can address. A governance deriving its power from the consent of the governed. A governance with a real and potent authority that Libertarian industrialists, and the pseudo-Libertarian actors like Greenwald simply detest.

Update#1

Now that he's been shamefully "Pulitzer-recognized" for his famously shoddy work on the Snowden/NSA stories, Greenwald is less and less ashamed of demonstrating his frequent willingness to support the Koch cabal's transparent efforts to suck in the gullible on the left.  Here's the latest example: 
 


 

And not to be outdone, Glenn's frequent partner in these things, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has dropped any and all pretense of caring about any issue but  their hyperbolic hysteria over the "surveillance state." Here, we see their "senior activist" essentially providing an endorsement of the Tea Party because of the empty Liberty Now! rhetoric that EFF helped them refine over the past year.  They suggest not the slightest concern for the well tread fact that Koch/Cato and the Teaparty often use this simplistic civil liberties dogma in precisely the same way that conservatives have always used race*: to seduce voters motivated by narrowly focused, single issue, dogwhistle politics.
 


 

I will let Bob Cesca from the Daily Banter explain this farce to you:

"It’s difficult to find a more ridiculous whitewashing of the tea party outside of the tea party itself. The legacy of the founders? Wow. First of all, the tea party doesn’t even understand the actual Boston Tea Party, much less the intent of the founders. Yet the heretofore respected EFF has bedazzled the tea party with the gilded legacy of the almighty founders. As for the leaders the tea party has elected, is there one — just one — who’s not completely nuts or totally unqualified for the post?"

Here's Bob's entire post. Don't miss it ? Electronic Frontier Foundation Praises the Tea Party, FreedomWorks and Birther Larry Klayman

* Note: On using race and similarly incendiary issues to hang entire political strategies upon, Brian Beutler of the New Republic wrote a great paragraph today in his piece, The Right's Racial Blinders What really explains the politics of the Obama era.  The entire piece is excellent, but this is the money graf for my purposes:
 

See how it works?  The plutocracy will use race, civil liberties, environment, or any other issue they can that will—or might—lure gullible populations into their sphere of influence. They will achieve their selfish agenda by any means necessary.   But then, the same is largely  true of Greenwald. He hung his career on civil liberties, and always had libertarian leanings (to put it nicely) which never much cared for progressive politics or helping progressive causes.  As a result, ginning-up the importance of Koch projects, Ron Paul, Rand Paul, the Teaparty, or any other tool that supports or extends his hyperbolic surveillance state narrative seems a perfectly rational thing for him to do. 

But as more and more journalists and pundits discover him, post-Pulitzer, and finally-tune into his past and tactics, I wonder if he will be so cavalier about being this revealing of himself in the future. It was one thing when he was a nobody, and Tim Jacob Wise wrote a piece like this:

Of Broken Clocks, Presidential Candidates, and the Confusion of Certain White Liberals

But it will be quite another now that he's a Pulitzer Prize contributing author, Glenn Greenwald.

Stay tuned.

Update #2

A far more intellectual dissection of this very problem has just been published. I urge you to read: Cyberlibertarians’ Digital Deletion of the Left

Related

When computers are involved, otherwise brilliant leftists who carefully examine the political commitments of most everyone they side with suddenly throw their lot in with libertarians — even when those libertarians explicitly disavow Left principles in their work.

"Few people have done more in-depth research, reporting, and writing on the post-Obama conservative movement than Lee Fang. The Machine goes beyond the headlines and explores exactly how this ideological movement operates."
—Amanda Terkel, senior political reporter, The Huffington Post

After the 2008 and 2012 elections, we all thought the country was shifting toward liberal values. The right wing saw it too, so they warmed up their machine built over 30 years, stretching from Capitol Hill to local school boards. Think tanks and lobby houses, new media and old, consultants and old-time party hacks all fell into line to rev up The Machine against the newly-elected moderate Democrat named Barack Obama.

Yes, Hillary Clinton, there was and still is a vast right wing conspiracy. Luckily for us, Lee Fang has written the story of the conspiracy in the Clinton years and following right up to the 2012 election. Names, dates, and secret meetings are all in one compact book, where Lee's narrative proves what we all know: A small handful of billionaires and corporations drive politicians, the news, and day-to-day political discourse in this country.

 

And the graphic Greenwald wants you to look at is a fake — an altered version of a Think Progress graphic showing Norwegian anti-Muslim terrorist Anders Breivik’s citations of US bloggers in his “manifesto.” The altered graphic, to which they added my name in a very deceptive manner, with a bright green bar to make sure you didn’t miss it:

Jo-Ann Shain is my first cousin. She and her partner Mary Jo Kennedy have played a historic role for the past 7 years. This @CNN re-run memorizalizes their long journey. Their fight has been part of an epic battle that will change the lives of so many.  Congratulations to them both. Thank you for your service, ladies. 

 

 

Source: Same-sex couple Jo-Ann Shain and Mary Jo Kennedy won the lottery to wed Sunday in New York.

Backstory

Related

 

 

Update1:  This term has been recast as "Puritopian."  Emo Progressive was never coined by either Joy Ann Reid or myself. It had already gotten traction before we came together and tried to give it greater definition. We succeeded, perhaps too well. Like others, we were never comfortable with it because it was far too disparaging of emotion, which in itself is not a bad thing.  At the same time, we never much liked "Pro Left" either, as many of the people associated with the behavior and attitudes were amateur writers and boggers. Thus, we now feel that "Puritopian" is a better term of art to decribe the beliefs and attitudes that were being discussed on this page. You can read more about the term as soon as I have time to write it up here. For now, just substitute it wherever you see Emo Progressive below.

Update2: I've never been able to get "Puritopian" to gain much traction because too many people had already become too enamored with the "emo" in "emoprogressive," (which I still dislike).  So I found a middle ground and defined a new label which seems to be resonating with many in the social media space already. That new label is: Emotarian


 

Note: Joy Ann Reid and I posted the definition below on Urban Dictionary. But it really needs more discussion than what can be posted there. So this post will serve as an ongoing primer on the subject, and will be expanded incrementally.   If you have comments or ideas for things to include, please post them below.

Emo Progressive

The Original Definition, reprinted from Urban Dictionary

Emo Progressive (or "emoprog") is a self-described liberal or progressive, often with strong libertarian leanings, whose primary political orientation is to be angry, dissatisfied and unhappy with the state of the nation at any given time, because in their view, liberal policies are not being implemented quickly enough or articulated forcefully enough. They have particular contempt for Democratic presidents.

Emoprogs are ideological purists who disdain compromise and incremental change, which they see as "selling out" classical liberal ideas like full employment, an end to all wars, state secrets, and liberal social policy.

Emoprogs dislike Republicans but reserve their greatest disdain for Democratic presidents, whom they relentlessly attack for not meeting a set of ideological goal posts that are constantly adjusted to ensure that the president will be deemed a disappointment, "not progressive enough" or "just like a Republican" no matter what policy achievements are made.

Emoprogs routinely dismiss or ignore congress' role in making or impeding policy, believing presidents can simply "use the bully pulpit" and "fight" in order to overcome constitutional or legislative obstacles.

Emoprogs have a strong affinity for third party politics as a way to punish Democratic presidents. They are especially hostile to President Barack Obama and deem anyone who expresses a lack of ill will toward him to be "Obamabots" and enemies of liberalism.

Example1: After Eric Holder announced congress had blocked the Justice Department from trying 9/11 mastermind KSM in civilian court, social networks lit up with emo progressives complaining that President Obama had broken his campaign promise to end military tribunals. Their criticism did not mention congressional Democrats who helped block Holder.

Example2: Emoprogs dismissed healthcare reform as a failure, saying President Obama should have used the bully pulpit to achieve a single payer system, despite the fact that Sen. Harry Reid made it clear that such a plan could not pass the Senate.

 

Related Reading

Apparently, some conservatives are having a tiff with a twitter user named @wingnutwatch.  They made some convoluted youtube movie about it called "Twittergate".  For reasons I cannot really figure out, two of my tweets are in this video.  As best I can tell,my tweets merely mention words and concepts I'm known for, and try to explicitly or implicitly connect them to whatever bizarre effort—real or imagined—the video addresses.

I don't have a working relationship with @wingnutwatch under that, or any other name, and I wouldn't have such involvement in anything like the alleged schemes if I could. I don't know how much of this "plot" they speak of was real, if any, and I really don't care. I simply don't want to be associated with any kind of willful manipulation, real or imagined.

I have no interest playing any kind of political game with conservatives on Twitter or anywhere else. They, and the billionaire proxy astroturfers like AFP and Freedomworks have made politics so hateful and ugly in this country, the last thing I want to do is engage in the same kinds of gutter-level activities that got us here. When I confront conservatives, it's upfront and in their face, as it should be.

So if someone tries to suggest I am in any way involved with these efforts, please direct them here. Thanks.

UPDATE1 (4/4/2010):  I have it from a pretty reliable source that David Shuster has NOT been fired (as of this writing, anyway).  And his bio has NOT been removed, as some had claimed. His "blog" may have been removed, but that could have been due to some unrelated issue.  His MSNBC bio page is still there.


 

With a few notable exceptions, I've always been a fan of David Shuster.  I like his boyish enthusiasm as he tears into the leg of any guest he knows is full of shit.  After some exchanges with him over the past few months, I can't say I'd be very surprised if he was in fact on the way out at MSNBC, but I've yet to see any hard evidence that this actually happened. 

It's mostly a lot of supposition based on this New York Observer story.

Inside the CNN Stockroom: Network Recently Shot Pilot Staring MSNBC's Shuster and NPR's Martin

Recently, according to CNN sources, the network's in-house team shot a pilot for a news show featuring David Shuster of MSNBC and Michel Martin of NPR as co-anchors.

The NY Times Brian Stelter gets on board, and adds..

“If true, this is unacceptable and David will be punished appropriately,” an MSNBC spokesman, Jeremy Gaines, said Friday afternoon"

Then Mediaite steps up to fan the gossip wires

And in the short term – he’s not anchoring at 3pmET. Shuster has already been trouble with MSNBC for his inappropriate tweeting, and hasn’t used Twitter for months. … An NBC insider tells Mediaite, “Shuster has never been a major player at MSNBC.”

Bringing up the rear, the ever faithful Wingnut Daily, Newsbusters, couldn't pass up a chance to bust General Soros for trying to buy another foot soldier for his Communist News Network (owned by one of the largest media conglomerates on the planet).

Shuster's Twitter account has been silent since January 27, when NewsBusters and other center-right blogs documented his blatant conflict of interest in covering O'Keefe's arrest. Ironically, his last Tweet cites a post from the far-left group Media Matters. Need we say more?

An uncertain period of time after the Observer story dropped, Shuster's website at MSNBC up and vanished.  Hmmm….

So there we have it. On the surface, a lot of hearsay and supposition based on an anonymous "CNN source" that reported a "pilot" that may or may not have happened; that Shuster missed his shows; that there had been prior friction between Shuster and MSNBC; and that a web page disappeared. 

But that's all we know. It's certainly a compelling sequence, but hardly conclusive. It's mostly interesting to me because it illustrates how our new blogger-centric world can play a story in incremental steps, from many bloggers, each with their own world (and industry) view.  

Perhaps David is toast, or perhaps his dog got hit by a car and someone edited his page and broke it. Nobody has made any statements on the record—or supplied any evidence—that says anything to the contrary.

My gut says it's probably true. But mostly because I'd like it to be true. Especially that part about NPR's Michel Martin going to CNN. 

In my view, she's one of the best broadcast journalists working today. If CNN wants me as a viewer again, she'd bring me over in any time slot.

Good luck, Shuster, wherever you are, and wherever you go (or not).

This is the very essay I was going to try and tackle this week. These fine folks have done a superb job of writing it for me.  You must read it, and then see my note that follows:

How To Do Effective Political Activism: What Always Worked And What Never Did — by Peterson Park Blog

While young liberals and progressives were sitting in coffee shops tweeting, emailing and updating their Facebook status, embracing the tools of the “new activism,” tea baggers were disrupting town hall meetings and staging credible rallies and marches on the halls of power. While the left embraced the delusion that new media technologies have changed the rules of political and social activism, mossback conservatives and libertarians were effectively applying the same techniques of political protest that have worked and worked and worked since the dawn of history.

Now please..

Don't just read the above essay, maybe make a bookmark, and then promptly forget it. Take a few minutes and think about how many you might share it with by employing just the smallest amount of effort.

I don't just mean Retweeting it. Got email lists?  Got phone? Got a neighbor? Got a blog?

The social side of social media makes it so easy to organize voices, but it's getting those voices into the streets where they are really heard by politicians, employers and the media that will really make the difference. And that's the hard part. But social media makes it so much easier than it ever was before.  It provides the multiple megaphones with which we can drive the herd, and the herd can provide the warm bodies in the streets. But that herd must still go there when called upon. And the only way it will, is when it's been educated, enraged, engaged and excited. That's where YOU come in.

You personally may not be able to take to the streets, but you can compensate for that by making so much noise that it helps fire up so many others who might.

Wingnuts get active, and it's why they win. Even when they don't hit the streets, they keep their conversations and narratives alive with constant regurgitation and redistribution, which reinforces all their memes and messages.  It sinks in. The left–and all of us on it–must learn to do this too.

It's not that we don't all want to do it. It's that we simply DON'T do it.  We simply have to find a way to change that.  And very, very quickly. The only way we can start… is to just start.

Look at what @MLsif just do with #demandQuestionTime. That entire effort, as described here,  http://bit.ly/9uTPTU took just a few days. Yes, it's only an online effort at present, but he could very easily issue a call to action which might translate into action offline. It's just one small example of the powerful weapons we have. We just need to start using them. 

SO DON'T JUST NOD YOUR HEAD. 

  • Do your part. (Any part is better than no part at all).
  • Tell someone. Educate, Enrage, Engage and Excite someone
  • Make our narrative happen (and stop echoing theirs so often).
     
  • PROGRESSIVE PASSIVITY is what allowed the right to seize this county.
  • Change that, change our world.